Building Bridges in Berrylands
Connecting the Community to our Natural World
Nestled in the heart of suburbia there is a forgotten woodland, ‘the Raeburn Open Space’. This five-hectare local nature reserve, has fantastic potential to be a haven for wildlife and a place that can inspire the local community of the natural wonders that can be found just on our door steps, which are rarely ever noticed.
— Daniel Raven-Ellison (@DanRavenEllison) June 29, 2017
Thames Water are funding a three-year project which will enable this site to reach its potential and become a true community asset that will encourage local people to explore and connect with the green spaces that make the area we live so special.
The site is made up of a mosaic of habitat types which include native deciduous woodland, a small stream known as the Surbiton Stream (or Tolworth brook) and some scrub land. With this project, we will enhance these habitats and work to create new habitat. While also encouraging responsible access to the site, enabling our community to learn about the natural wonders that surround us.
The area was declared a nature reserve in 1992, however since this time the area has been neglected and suffered from vandalism and anti – social behaviour. With arson of ancient trees, recreational drug use, occasional rough sleeping and large amounts litter accumulating. These issues have caused some residents who are aware of the area, to be afraid to even access it due to its rather negative reputation. And though the area has great potential it is plagued with invasive species which out complete our native species and a lack of management.
Our vision is to transform the area into a thriving nature reserve which, which is greatly valued by the local community. We are looking to improve the habitat quality of the stream, create wetland habitat and enhance the woodland. Further to this we want to create an interpretive nature trail encouraging the public to responsibly explore this hidden woodland. We hope to establish a vibrant friend’s groups that can help to look after the area into the far-reaching future.
Read what we have been up to so far
- Utilities survey
- Ecology survey
- Planned proposal
- Links to blogs
Click the links below to explore the different elements of this exciting project!